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all built of hewn timber, and for the most part painted red.
The floors of the taverns are strewn with the fragrant tips of fir boughs. In many villages there are no taverns, and the peasants take turns in receiving travelers. The thrifty housewife shows you into the best chamber, the walls of which are hung round with rude pictures from the Bible; and brings you her heavy silver spoons wherewith to dip the curdled milk from the pan.
You have oaten cakes baked some months before; or bread with anise seed and coriander in it, and perhaps a little pine bark.
Meanwhile the sturdy husband has brought his horses from the plough, and harnessed them to your carriage. Solitary travelers come and go in uncouth one-horse chaises. Most of them have pipes in their mouths, and hanging around their necks in front, a leathern wallet, wherein they carry tobacco. You meet, also, groups of peasant women, traveling homeward, or city-ward in pursuit of work. They walk barefoot, carrying in their hands their shoes, which have high heels under the hollow of the foot, and soles of birch
Frequent, too, are the village churches, standing by the road-side, each in its own little garden of Gethsemane. In the parish register great events are doubtless recorded. Some old king was christened or buried in that church; and a little sexton, with a great rusty key, shows you the baptismal font, or the coffin. In the church-yard are a few flowers, and much green grass; and daily the shadow of the church spire, with its long tapering finger, counts the tombs, thus representing an index of human life, on which the hours and minutes are the graves of men.
The stones are flat, and large, and low, and perhaps sunken, like the roofs of old houses. On some are armorial bearings; on others only the initials of the poor tenants, with a date, as on the roofs of Dutch cottages. They all sleep with their heads to the westward. Each held a lighted taper in his hand when he died; and in his coffin were placed his - little hearttreasures, and a piece of money for his last journey.
Near the church-yard gate stands a poor-box, fastened to a post by iron bands, and secured by a padlock, with a sloping wooden roof to keep off the rain. If it be Sunday, the peasants sit on the church steps and con their psalm-books. Others are coming down the road with their beloved pastor, who talks to them of holy things from beneath his broad-brimmed hat. He speaks of fields and harvests, and of the parable of the sower that went forth to sow. He leads them to the good Shepherd, and to the pleasant pastures of the spirit-land. He is their patriarch, and, like Melchisedeck, both priest and king, though he has no other throne than the church pulpit. The women carry aj psalm-books in their hands, wrapped in silk handkerchiefs, and listen devoutly to the good man's words.
I must not forget the sudden changing seasons of Art the northern clime. There is no long and lingering spring, unfolding leaf and blossom one by one;—no long and lingering autumn, pompous with many-colored : leaves and the glow of Indian summers.
But winter and summer are wonderful, and pass into each other. The quail has hardly ceased piping in the corn, when
winter, from the folds of trailing clouds, sows broadcast over the land, snow, icicles, and rattling hail.
The days wane apace. Ere long the sun hardly rises above the horizon, or does not rise at all. The moon and the stars shine through the day; only, at noon, they are pale and wan, and in the southern sky a red, fiery glow, as of sunset, burns along the horizon, and then goes out. And pleasantly under the silver moon, and under the silent, solemn stars, ring the steel shoes of the skaters on the frozen sea, and voices, and the sound of bells.
And now the Northern Lights begin to burn, faintly at first, like sunbeams playing in the waters of the blue sea. Then a soft crimson glow tinges the heavens. There is a blush on the cheek of night. The colors come and go; and change from crimson to gold, from gold to crimson. The snow is stained with rosy light. Twofold from the zenith, east and west, flames a fiery sword; and a broad band passes athwart the heavens, like a summer sunset. Soft purple clouds come sailing over the sky, and through their vapory folds the winking stars shine white as silver.
With such pomp as this is Merry Christmas ushered in, though only a single star heralded the first Christ
And in memory of that day the Swedish peasants dance on straw; and the peasant girls throw straws at the timbered roof of the hall, and for every one that sticks in a crack shall a groomsman come to their wedding. Merry Christmas indeed!
And now the glad, leafy mid-summer, full of blossoms and the song of nightingales, is come! In every village there is a May-pole fifty feet high, with wreaths
and rosos and ribbons streaming in the wind, and a noiseless weathercock on top, to tell the village whence the wind cometh and whither it goeth. The sun does not set till ten o'clock at night; and the children are at play in the streets an hour later. The windows and doors are all open, and you may sit and read till midnight without a candle. O how beautiful is the summer night, which is not night, but a sunless yet unclouded day, descending upon earth with dews, and shadows, and refreshing coolness!
How beautiful the long, mild twilight, which like a silver clasp unites to-day with yesterday! How beautiful the silent hour, when Morning and Evening thus sit together, hand in hand, beneath the starless sky of midnight! From the church-tower in the public square the bell tolls the hour, with a soft, musical chime; and the watchman, whose watch-tower is the belfry, blows a blast on his horn, for each stroke of the hammer, four times, to the four corners of the heavens :
Ho! watchman, ho!
Twelve is the clock! From his swallow's nest in the belfry he can see the sun all night long; and farther north the priest stands at his door in the warm midnight, and lights his pipe with a common burning glass.
“ THE sea is his, and He made it.” Its beauty is of God. It possesses it, in richness, of its own; it borrows it from earth, and air, and heaven. The clouds lend it the various dyes of their wardrobe, and throw down upon it the broad masses of their shadows, as they go sailing and sweeping by. The rainbow laves in many
colored feet. The sun loves to visit it, and the moon, and the glittering brotherhood of planets and stars; for they delight themselves in its beauty.
The sunbeams return from it in showers of diamonds and glances of fire; the moonbeams find in it a pathway of silver, where they dance to and fro, with the breeze and the waves, through the livelong night. It has a light, too, of its own, a soft and sparkling light, rivaling the stars; and often does the ship which cuts its surface, leave streaming behind a milky way of dim and uncertain lustre, like that which is shining dimly above.
It harmonizes in its forms and sounds both with the night and the day. It cheerfully reflects the light, and it unites solemnly with the darkness.
It imparts sweetness to the music of men, and grandeur to the thunder of heaven. What landscape is so beautiful as one upon the borders of the sea? The spirit of its loveliness is from the waters, where it dwells and rests, singing its spells, and scattering its charms on all the coast. What rocks and cliffs are so glorious as those